Why work doesn’t happen at work…er, yes it does!

Posted on January 10, 2011

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Firstly, I have to say that I love what Jason Fried is trying to say on TED, but he has got it wrong. Work does happen at work. I’ve done some fantastic work at work surrounded by work colleagues. We’ve come up with some great ideas and we have been able to see them through to fruition. That’s because human beings do bounce of each other. Work is sometimes like a complicated word association game where what one person says triggers a thought or idea in another.

Where I think Mr Fried is absolutely right is where the home provides an alternative work space to get stuff done – probably to crunch through stuff that has already been set. Ideas blocks are best surmounted not at home, but at work or somewhere else altogether – on a run; on a course; on an away day and in most cases this doesn’t involve the individual being at home.

The phrase shirking at home frustrates the hell out of me. To suggest I shirk is well out of order, but without a really strong plan of action I can see how it’s easy to do. Like Lucy Kellaway, if I’m left at home to just be creative then I’ll soon find my way down to the fridge or get carried away going through my record collection – and no, let’s not pretend that this idling away is designed to result in a great creative idea, because it won’t. Home is a great place to work when you have a plan and a deadline – it’s not the greatest place to work when you have ideas blocks. It’s also not the best place to work if you’re an airline pilot; shop worker or member of the emergency services, so let’s remember that this debate is only for the minority of people that can afford to spend extra hours in the home.

Of course, if you work in a wonderful workspace like the Nike offices in the picture, then perhaps you feel very different about being at work.

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